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Shaping the future NHS: Long term planning for hospitals and related services: Consultation document on the findings of the National Beds Inquiry

  • Launch date:
    10 February 2000
  • Closing date:
    15 May 2000
  • Creator/s:
    Department of Health
  • Audience:
    Health and social care professionals
  • Copyright holder:
  • Product number:

This document has three aims:

i. To consider the likely future impact of current policies, and of factors in the wider environment, on the key resources needed by the NHS in the long term. The focus of this document is on staffed acute hospital beds, and the services that might support or in the longer term substitute for them better to meet patients' needs;

ii. To share these analyses with the NHS, partner agencies and others, and to consult as to how health services, and specifically hospital beds, should be developed over the next 10-20 years both to meet the Government's vision for a modern NHS, and to respond to changes in the wider environment; and

iii. To develop a common set of assumptions for use in the long term planning of key resources at national, regional and local level.

On the first aim, this consultation document seeks to provide information on the factors shaping health services, specifically the need for hospital beds, by:

i. Presenting detailed information about trends and the current position of health and social services and hospital beds in England;

ii. Highlighting local and international variations in those services and trends;

iii. Analysing the key drivers of future service requirements;

iv. Describing different models of care which seek to improve the balance and range of services available to patients; and

v. Using projections of a range of activity levels to illustrate the extent of uncertainty over future requirements for services and hospital beds.

More information on all these subjects is provided in the Supporting Analysis.

On the second aim, the analysis ends with a series of questions on which the Government wishes to consult. Responses are invited from the public, users of NHS and social services, clinical and non clinical staff, and others who are able to provide either a national or local perspective. The consultation period will run from February 10th to May 15th. As part of this process the Inquiry Team will hold a series of regional workshops for NHS staff and other stakeholders to discuss some of the key questions. Further details on the consultation process can be found at the end of this report. The outcome of the consultation will be published.

On the third aim, the Supporting Analysis published with this document includes the initial long-term planning assumptions developed by the project team. These may be helpful to planning groups at national, regional and local level. A revised set of assumptions will be published after the consultation process taking account of comments received. These will be incorporated in guidance specifically aimed at local and regional planning groups. They will also inform national planning.

The National Beds Inquiry was set up to ensure that the number and type of hospital beds meets patients' needs looking 10 to 20 years ahead. This document initiates a public debate on the Inquiry's findings.

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